For most of its existence, restaurant marketing focused on a single goal: getting more people through the door. How can you convince a customer to come to your business and spend money on your food?

That all changed in 2020. Technological advancements and changes to the industry brought on by COVID-19 flipped the focus of restaurant marketing on its head. In addition to bringing customers to your restaurant, your 2021 marketing should focus on bringing your restaurant to them.

Not sure how to best reach customers in their homes or on-the-move? Check out these six different channels that will define your restaurant’s marketing moving forward.

Mobile Menus

Your online menu is the crux of your restaurant’s digital marketing efforts. Everything you do should funnel customers towards your mobile menu to encourage takeout orders. If your mobile experience is poor, you’re building your digital marketing on a shaky foundation. There is a variety of restaurant technologies out there to help.

With the past year’s emphasis on contactless dining, it’s never been more important for restaurants to have an online menu that’s easy to find and simple to navigate on a mobile device.

One of the best ways to get an accurate Online Menu easily is have it tied to your standard dine-in menu. Use a menu maker program that offers menu templates for your dine-in menus. The same program will then allow you to extract your menu text easily into a friendly online format that works perfectly on smartphones.

QR Codes

2020 was the year of the QR code comeback. Restaurants adopted them to facilitate contactless dining. Now that restaurants and consumers have familiarized themselves with the technology, expect to see QR code usage expand and fill even more digital marketing needs for restaurants. More than simple access to an online menu, they can be used to:

  • Follow your social media
  • Redirect to your website
  • Leave a friendly Yelp or Google review
  • Pull up an online order form
  • Pay the bill on a mobile device


With people stuck in their homes for the vast majority of 2020, search engines became the modern day equivalent of window shopping for restaurants. Familiarize yourself with general and local SEO to learn how to optimize your site for these users.

Rather than take a stroll down the street, customers found new restaurants via Google searches like “burritos near me” or “steakhouse delivery.” If you haven’t already, register your business on Google to increase your chances of showing up for local searches.

Social Media

Before 2020, restaurants used social media to build their brands and followings. But with all the industry uncertainty over the past year, social media channels took on an added importance. They’re also a means of quick communication between restaurants and customers. Effective Instagram marketing for restaurants can take on many different angles.

Even if you’ve never maintained a Facebook or Instagram account before, start in 2021 to keep customers updated on new policies, hours, or closures. Keep tabs on restaurant social media tips to learn what you should and shouldn’t do.

Delivery Apps

Popular delivery apps like GrubHub and Doordash provide restaurants with instant delivery infrastructure and coverage, but they also charge high commission fees which eat away at restaurant profits.

Review Sites

Having a robust (and positive) presence on review sites like Google Reviews or Yelp is important for two reasons. One, customers read these reviews when deciding where to order food from. In such a crowded online marketplace, reviews help earn your customers’ trust and make your restaurant stand out.

Two, Google and other search engines take reviews into account when deciding where to rank your restaurant on Google searches. Always press your customers to leave you good reviews if they enjoyed the meal and service.